I’m a tree physiologist with an interest in disturbance ecology. I’m passionate about unraveling the effects of heat and drought stress on tree health, ecosystem structure and function, and the biosphere-atmosphere exchange of carbon, water and energy. I am particularly intrigued by interactions between mistletoes and their hosts, the trade-offs between carbon sequestration and water loss, and how droughts and heatwaves influence the flammability of Australian ecosystems. For my predominantly experimental research projects, I utilize observations from micro-meteorological stations (eddy covariance data from FLUXNET) and satellites, and complement these with a suite of ground-based sensor networks (such as terrestrial LiDAR scanners, sap flow sensors, dendrometers) and vegetation surveys. I have worked across a large range of ecosystems, from urban grasslands to prairies, and from deciduous to evergreen broadleaf forests, which fuels my drive to find commonalities among these contrasting ecosystems through synthesis studies.
I am currently chief investigator at an ARC Discovery grant on “Tree-mediated methane fluxes: A new frontier in the global carbon cycle” ($364,850) and at a Hermon Slade Foundation project on “Quantifying forest mortality after unprecedented drought and bushfires in Eastern Australia” ($83,538). In addition, I’ve been the sole recipient of over $150,000 awarded through 13 individual and competitive grants and stipends, including $125,000 in research scholarships, $10,500 for research support, $16,000 travel support. Further, I published 20+ journal articles and have given over 35+ presentations at national and international conferences.
Education and Employment
I joined the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment in 2016 and am currently working on ‘Forecasting live fuel moisture content, the on/off switch for forest fire’ with Rachael Nolan, Matthias Boer, Belinda Medlyn and Brendan Choat, as well as Marta Yebra, Albert van Dijk and Luigi Renzullo at ANU and Victor Resco De Dios from University of Lleida.
Previously, I worked with Elise Pendall on pressing questions about how mistletoe infection and extreme climate events alter ecosystem properties and tree health, and have incorporated remotely piloted aircraft systems to monitor changes in ecosystem properties with Matthias Boer.
My dissertation was on ‘New approaches to investigate the seasonal growth dynamics in forests’, for which I moved to Australia to work with Stefan Arndt and Lauren Bennett in the Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne (2012-2016). While working on my PhD, I also successfully completed a Specialist Certificate in Teaching for Graduate Researchers (First Class Honours) at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne in 2014.
I completed my B.S. and Master’s degree in Geography at the University of Bonn in Germany under the supervision of Joerg Loeffler in 2011. I was introduced to flux research during an internship with Dean Anderson at the USGS in Denver in 2009, where I returned for a research visit for my thesis on ‘Greenhouse Gas Flux Comparisons between Lawns in the Denver Urban Area and in an Adjacent Natural Tallgrass Prairie in the Rocky Mountain Front Range‘.